The breeding season on many spring-calving farms has entered into its fourth week, making now a good time to determine how successful it has been so far.

The aim right now should be to have submitted 90% or more cows for breeding, meaning for a 100-cow herd that at least 90 cows have been submitted so far.

This is assuming that all the cows are suitable, and remaining on the farm for breeding.

Breeding season

At this point of the breeding season, any cows that have not been served or submitted need to be checked.

If these cows have not yet been seen in heat, they may need some form of intervention to allow them to cycle.

It is advised that these cows are checked sooner rather than later to ensure that they can go in-calf as early as possible in the season.

This will most likely require the vet handling or scanning the cow to determine if there is an issue.

Conception rates

Although up to 90% of the herd has been – ideally – submitted for breeding at this stage, it is very unlikely that all of these cows will hold to first service.

It is probable that of the 90% submitted for breeding, a 55-60% first-service conception rate has been achieved.

For example in 100-cow herd, where 90 cows have been submitted for breeding, somewhere in the region of 50 to 55 cows should be in-calf.

However, this also means that 45 to 50 cows are not yet in-calf, so in essence, the job is only half done.

With that in mind, over the next number of weeks the aim should be to reduce the number of repeats and get as many cows as possible in-calf in a short period of time.